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TWO 

SERMONS 



DELIVERED AT THE 



METHODIST CHAPEL, 

LUTON, BEDS. 

IN THE MONTH OF AUGUST, 1835. 



ONE BY 



THE REV. MAX. WILSON, 

THE OTHER BY 

THE REV. THOS. ROGERSON, 

BEING AMONGST THE LAST EFFORTS OF THEIR MINISTRY 
PREVIOUS TO THEIR LEAVING THE LUTON CIRCUIT. 



DUNSTABLE: 

PRINTED AND SOLD BY T. HIGGINS. 
ALSO, MAY BE HAD OF THE PUBLISHER, LUTON 

Price One Shilling, 

Pamphlet Collection 
Duke Divinity School 



A SERMON, 

DELIVERED BY THE REV. MAX. WILSON, 

In n> fHetfjolust OTfjapel, Huton, 

August, 1835. 

The subject of this evening's discourse, is found in the last clause 
of St. Matthew's Gospel, — Lol I am with you ahvay, 
even unto the end of the world. 

Our divine Redeemer, having finished the work upon 
earth which he was commissioned to do ; having made a 
sufficient, free, and full atonement for our sins, in his pain- 
ful and ignominious death upon the cross ; having risen 
again from the dead for our justification, and ascended into 
the world of spirits from which lie had descended, was 
pleased, my brethren, frequently to meet with his disci- 
ples, not merely to assure them that he was the same iden- 
tical person with whom they had been conversant while he 
was living the life of a human being upon earth, and that, 
though he had been crucified, dead, and buried, he was yet 
alive again ; but also to instruct them in the mysteries of 
his kingdom. And now, being about to ascend to heaven, 
to the throne of his Father, far beyond the reach of human 
eye, and to be worshipped and adored by all the celestial 
hosts, all the heavenly powers above, He gave them a 
commission that they should go forth and teach — " Go ye 
therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the 
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 
Ghost ; teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever 
I have commanded you/" 

O, what an important commission was this ! O, what 
an arduous task devolved upon these good men, these poor 
fishermen, and tent-makers, and tax-gatherers of Galilee ! 
To have a commission to go forth and teach all nations, all 



ranks, all orders, and all degrees of people, to observe 
whatsoever he had commanded them. Why, the commis- 
sion was enough to depress their spirits ; more indeed, one 
might suppose, than finite mortals could bear : but then, 
my brethren, our Lord was aware, not only that the com- 
mission was awfully important, yea, big with the most mo- 
mentous interests of the whole human family, but he knew 
also that, in the execution of this commission, and, as I 
have said, most arduous task, they would meet with so 
much scorn, so much contempt, so much obloquy, so much, 
indeed, of worldly, privation, so much of personal suffer- 
ings, so much, I may say, of human torture, and death in 
all its terrific forms, that he knew, my hearers, unaided by 
heaven, they would sink beneath the burden, and retire 
from such an Herculean task ; and therefore he gave them 
the encouraging promise of the text ; " Lo, I am with you 
alway, even to the end of the world/ 5 

I want no other memorial in the hearts of my people, 
that I have spent three years' ministry among them, than 
the recollection of the text. I care not indeed, compara- 
tively at least, if you lose sight of all my discourses, all the 
subjects I have attempted to discuss, if you do but retain 
this one single promise written in this inspired book — "Lo, 
I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.' 5 

That the disciples of our Lord might be able to execute 
this high command, the promise was given to comfort and 
encourage them in their important work ; and in calling 
your attention to this subject, I shall in the 

First place, remind you, of the import of the promise 
itself, and in the 

Second place, the application which the promise will 
admit. 

In the first place, let us look at the import of the pro- 
mise itself. What does it imply? What is included in 
the words, "Lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end 
of the world' 5 ? Certainly, in the first place, it must im- 



ply the perpetuity of the Saviour's existence. How, else, 
could he he with them always ? He was now upon earth, 
not being yet ascended on high, not being yet glorified in 
his human nature before the throne of his Father, but just 
upon the wing, just upon his flight to Heaven. "I am just 
about, my disciples, to leave you. You will see me no 
more, with these eyes of sense. I am about to ascend to 
the world of spirits. You will therefore, be poor solitary 
wanderers here ; but do not be disheartened, do not be 
discouraged, lo ! I am with you alway, even unto the end 
of the world". Why, it must signify something more than 
occasional visits. I may, if life be spared me, be allowed 
occasionally to visit my Bedfordshire friends, and, possibly, 
the Luton Wesleyan congregation; but, you know, I could 
not pretend to say, "Lo ! I am with you alway 5 '. No, nor 
any finite being. No, nor Michael the archangel himself. 
He might say, I will visit you; I will take care of you; I 
will watch over you ; and, ultimately, I will not leave you; 
but he could not use the language of the text. No finite, 
no created being possibly could; therefore this implies per- 
petuity of existence. This is the peculiar character of 
Deity, "I am that I am". Thus was Deity pleased to 
make himself known to Moses, from the lambent flame in 
the bush that was not consumed; " I am that I am; the 
self-existent, independent, uncreated Being." This is the 
prerogative of Deity, and to this none but Deity can lay 
claim. You find, indeed, the son of Mary, the despised 
Nazarene, claiming to himself this distinguishing attribute 
of Deity. "Verily, verily , I say unto you, before Moses or 
Abraham was, I am 5 '. I am, the self-existent, independ- 
ent, absolute Sovereign of the universe. Why, then, there 
must be a sense in which he, who was born of woman, was 
a partaker of all the attributes and perfections of Deity. 
Yes, in his uncreated nature he is over all, God blessed 
for ever ; and hence, says he, " I am with you alway, even 
unto the end of the world": not onlv while on earth; not 



6 

only while I am allowed to continue here below in a visible 
form; but I shall be with you when this corporeal body that 
I received from the virgin will be glorified at the right hand 
of my Father on high. I am about to ascend, indeed, be- 
yond the reach of the eye of sense, but this will have no 
effect on my eixistence : I shall exist, in all my attributes 
and perfections, as one with the Father, when these eyes 
of yours shall see me no more : " Lo, I am with you alway 
even unto the end of the world". Why, my Brethren, if 
he be the Mighty God, and have a right to say, "All things 
that the Father hath are mine' 5 : if, indeed, it be truth, that 
he is the brightness of Jehovah's glory, and the express 
image of his person ; then we are assured, my hearers 
that, before him, time is but as the twinkling of an eye # 
Why, he here intimates that with him there is neither time 
past, nor to come, but all is an eternal now before him. 
Yes, he exists, and before him all distinctions of time pass 
away. He was in the beginning ; he existed antecedently 
to the beginning; and he who existed antecedently to the 
beginning, must he without beginning ; and he, who is 
without beginning, must be self-existent, must be God ; 
God, existing through all eternity, through an unending, 
undivided succession; and therefore he could say, "Lo, I 
am with you alway, even unto the end of the world". 

The promise, also, I apprehend, implies in the second 
place, the universality of the Saviour's presence, as well as 
the perpetuity of his existence. He who exists through 
all time, must, my brethren, exist through all space : He 
who is without beginning of days, and end of years, must, 
indeed, fill immensity with his presence. If it were pos- 
sible to imagine any place where he was not as God, then 
he would not be there; and, if not there, he might be sup- 
posed not to be elsewhere; and therefore not anywhere at 
all ; but there is nowhere where he is not spreading his in- 
finite essence; for, says he, "wherever two or three are 
gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of 



them. Now a created being cannot possibly be in two 
given places in one and the same time. That, you know, 
would be an absolute absurdity to suppose, that any finite 
being could be here and elsewhere. But, "lo" ,says he, "I am 
with you alway"; and "Wherever two or three are gathered 
together, there am I in the midst of thenr". Why then, he 
must be, brethren, a participator of the undivided essence 
of Deity; and that essence must be every where to give 
existence to all things, and to uphold all things. Yes, 
blessed be his name, while his presence is realized among 
the angels in heaven, while his glory is gazed on with rap- 
ture by all the spirits of the just made perfect, we may be 
individually realizing his presence, and shall find that he is 
everywhere present at one and the safne time. He knows 
no change ; he is with his people always, in every time and 
in every place. "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the 
end of the world''. 

It is certain, indeed, that the church, at the time our 
blessed Lord gave this promise, was a very little church, 
consisting of but a very small number of people, all assem- 
bled together in an upper room. Why, the church did not 
require so comfortable and so large a place of worship as 
this : they could all meet together in a little room. But 
our Saviour knew that it was to increase and spread, till, 
ultimately, it should fill the whole world ; knew that that 
chosen band would increase, and that the church would 
diffuse its hallowing influence through the north, and 
through the south, and through the east, and through the 
west. And though, indeed, the first churches planted by 
the apostles might "pa^s away like the baseless fabric of a 
vision, and leave not a wreck behind^', as was, perhaps, the 
case with some of the Asiatic churches; yet he knew that 
his church would spring up in other lands, and in other 
regions, till his redeemed should become as numerous as 
the drops of dew from the womb of the morning, or the 
spires of grass in the fields, or the stars of heaven not to 
be numbered. 



8 



But, in the third place, the promise implies, not only 
perpetuity of existence, and universality of presence, but 
likewise the immutability of the Saviour's regards. " Lo, 
I am with you alway; with you, mine apostles; with you, 
my ministers ; with you, my people, even unto the end of 
the world". Why then it w r ould seem, my brethren, there 
is an immutability in the Saviour's regards, for those who 
love and fear him. I am with you, for I am the same, 
yesterday, to-day, and for ever. And he who was with 
the first inspired apostles is still with his chosen instru- 
ments and ministers, and will be to the end of time. He 
who was present with his little church in an upper room 
at Jerusalem, is still with his people down to the present 
day. " He knows no variableness, nor shadow of a turn- 
ing". Having loved his own, he will love them to the end; 
and there is the same regard for his faithful ministers now 
as there was then ; the same regard for his obedient peo- 
ple ; and we are assured, my brethren, that it was this that 
cheered the minds of his disciples. They knew what dif- 
ficulties they would have to meet with in the execution of 
their commission; they knew, indeed, that the world 
would frown upon them ; that wherever they might bend 
their steps they would have to encounter hardships, trials, 
privations, and death in its most terrific forms. But you 
hear one of these most blessed apostles saying, " None of 
these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto 
myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the 
ministry which I have received of our Lord Jesus, to tes- 
tify the gospel of the grace of God". They knew, my 
brethren, that they would have to encounter with the pre- 
judices of their own countrymen, the Jews, those deep- 
rooted prejudices, which, they were aware, nothing short 
of divine power and influence could possibly surmount or 
subdue. They knew that the whole world of pretended 
philosophers, with all their arguments and oratory, would 
be in arms against them. Indeed, the humiliating doctrine 



9 



of the cross would be everywhere so repugnant to the 
false reasoning of these pretended philosophers, and so 
subversive of all idolatrous worship and wicked habits, 
that, in consequence of the opposition it would meet with, 
nothing but sufferings, and stripes, and imprisonment, 
awaited them: yea, death hovering continually around 
them, and all that is terrific to human nature. But we 
hear the the apostle declaring, " We are troubled on every 
side, yet not distressed ; we are perplexed, but not in des- 
pair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not 
destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of 
our Lord Jesus, that the life, also, of Jesus might be made 
manifest in our body. For we which live are also deliver- 
ed unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus 
might be made manifest in our mortal flesh." Why, breth- 
ren, what would support these men in such circumstances, 
but an assurance of the immutability of the Saviours re- 
gard. You may be hated of men, forsaken of those that 
once appeared to be like minded with yourselves ; you 
may have schisms in the church, and be troubled with 
false brethren, more to be deprecated than all the beasts 
of prey that ever roamed the wilderness ; but yet you need 
not be disheartened, my love is still the same, and will be 
sufficient to support you, and enable you to withstand in 
the evil day, and, having done all, to stand. This we ap- 
prehend is the full import of the promise. It implies the 
perpetuity of the Saviour's existence, the universality of 
his presence, and the immutability of his regard. He will 
be with his people alway, even unto the end of the world. 
But then, what is of importance to us, and more for our 
edification, is the application which the promise of the 
text will admit. And here, Brethren, you must very rea- 
dily perceive, that the application of this is, primarily and 
emphatically ; to all Christian ministers. I do not say to 
all Wesleyan ministers; for it is possible that there may 
be Wesleyan preachers who have not their commission 



10 

from on high. I do not say to every minister of the estab- 
lished church, for while some are living in the open violation 
of their profession, it is impossible that they should have 
a commission to go and preach the gospel. I do not say 
it applies to any class of dissenters exclusively; it will ap- 
ply to all whom the great head of the church has commis- 
sioned, as he did those poor fishermen, and tent makers^ 
and tax gatherers, to go forth and teach the gospel; yea, 
and take the whole world as their parish, for it does not 
appear that his ministers should be confined to one city, 
one village, or town, or hamlet. No ! his commission is 
"Go, and teach all nations". Well then, the application 
of this promise, you must perceive, is to all his commis- 
sioned ambassadors, of whatever name or denomination. 
We are all ready to suppose that none can be the commis- 
sioned ambassadors of Christ, but those of our own per- 
suasion ; as though, indeed, we supposed God to be as 
narrow-minded and as partial as ourselves; and can hardly 
imagine that man to be a minister of Christ who does not 
take exactly the same view of the analogy of faith as our- 
selves. But the head of the church knows the hearts of all 
his ambassadors; and he has, doubtless, thousands of 
honoured instruments in his church, who may not be of 
our persuasion, nor embrace all the truths we think con- 
tained in the book of God, to whom this promise applies, 
"Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world". 
Why, indeed, it is no human attainments, no learning, or 
knowledge of languages, arts, or sciences, that can qualify 
a man to go forth and preach the gospel of Christ. If, 
indeed, in addition to these human attainments and quali- 
fications, he have the divine commission, and be savingly 
acquainted with the truth, then, indeed, these human 
attainments, and these human qualifications, might, like the 
Egyptians' gold, enrich and beautify the sanctuary of God: 
but they are poor substitutes in the place of that commis- 
sion. Why, a man may speculate and reason upon the 



11 



gospel, and learn the art of preaching. Why not? If he 
have a retentive memory, he may be taught to preach in a 
mechanical way, as well as he may be taught any of the 
mechanical arts of life; but where, where are the seals of 
his ministry? Where the proofs of his divine commission? 
I know there is a considerable jealousy among a large por- 
tion of our own connection, in reference to what is termed 
the "Institution for Young Men," in London, called to the 
work of the ministry : and, indeed, if young men were to 
enter that, or any other place, to learn the art of preaching, 
I should say it would be a curse rather than a blessing. 
But if there be a young man of native genius and talent, 
but who has not had the advantage of education, will any 
man say, that, were he to be under the instruction of pious 
men, and to receive some addition of human knowledge 
and human qualifications, this would neutralize the divine 
commission, or disqualify him for a more sucessful minis- 
tration of the gospel? Why, how is it at this season of the 
year, our people are all attention to those who may be 
appointed to succeed the ministers who are to be removed 
to another part of the country ? They are very fond of 
knowing that their preachers are qualified for their work, 
and enabled to speak in their own mother tongue, without 
committing themselves so that a school-boy might say — 
"Why that man is no scholar: he does not know his own 
vernacular tongue: How can he preach to us?" It is indis 
pensably necessary that the divine head of the church be 
with them to reveal the deep things of God in their hearts; 
and then if they can receive any little additional instruction; 
why, that ministry, attended with the power of the Holy 
One, will be more cordially received by all classes. 

Again, he is with them, not only to qualify them for 
their work, but to direct and overrule their minds, as he 
has done in many instances. Often when they have come 
up, intent upon discussing some particular subject, they 
have felt their thoughts locked up within them ; their at- 



12 

tention has been suddenly diverted; another passage has 
instantly opened before them, and they have been enabled 
to speak with great enlargement. Herein is it manifest 
that the head of their ministry has been with them to di- 
rect them ; and unless he is with them to support them: 
and to enable them to execute their commission, they 
speak in vain; for a "Paul might plant, and Apollos might 
water, but the increase must be of the Lord". Then we 
must allow, that, whatever might be a minister's qualifica- 
tions, whatever his powers of eloquence, his logical argu- 
ment s, the soundness, I might say, and extent of his views 
of christian doctrine, all these, in themselves, would be no 
better than a " sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal". May 
the Head of the church fulfil this promise in those who 
are about to enter on their ministry with you, to qualify 
them for their work, and to enable them to discharge their 
ministry with success among all classes of people that may 
come under their word. May he be with them to support 
them under the trials, the difficulties, and the hardships 
they must naturally encounter in the full discharge of a 
christian pastor's duties; in their arduous and important 
task to search the oracles of God, and be ready to go from 
house to house, to warn and admonish, and even exhort 
with tears to be reconciled to God. No easy work for 
flesh and blood: it requires supernatural aid to do it with 
success. Men may preach, indeed, and draw vast multi- 
tudes after them, and be applauded by their hearers; but 
they never will be useful to souls without the application 
of the promise, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the 
end of the world." 

Again, I must remind you that this promise applies not 
only to christian ministers, but also to the church collec- 
tively, wherever that church may be found. I do not say, 
my brethren, the church of Wesleyan Methodism; for it is 
only and properly to' those who are members of the true 
church that this promise applies. Wherever the Saviour 



13 



has a collected people — wherever the ordinances of his 
word are administered — wherever the gospel is faithfully 
published — wherever, indeed, there are people met together 
in his name, there is he in the midst of them, and that to 
bless them. Are any of you a part of this visible church — 
a part of that house in which God delights to dwell ? Then 
the promise will be realized by you. He will be with you 
in all your acts of public worship, whether they be in a 
church, or a meeting house, or in a Wesleyan chapel, or in 
a private dwelling ; in the open air under the shade of a 
tree, or in a lane. He will be with you in all your acts of 
religious worship, to answer your requests and to listen to 
your songs of praise, which will come up as incense before 
the presence of his Father. When you attend the ordin- 
ances of the church, whether that of baptism, or the sacra- 
ment of the Lord's supper, or the communion of saints, 
when you "speak often one to another", he has promised 
to be present, to listen to all your complaints, and to sup- 
ply all your need. And in assembling together for social 
prayer, when two or three, or more than two or three 
agree to ask his blessing, think, think of the promise of 
the text. Have we not realized this promise more than 
once, or twice, or a hundred times, since we first came to- 
gether within these hallowed walls ? Have we never said, 
"God is here ; how dreadful is this place ! This is none 
other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven!'* 
Have we not been ready to exclaim, 

" My willing soul would stay 

In such a frame as this ; 
And sit, and sing herself away 

To everlasting bliss.? 

And if our fellowship below 

In Jesus be so sweet, 
What heights of rapture shall we know, 

When round his throne we meet!" 

But I must hasten to a close, as the shades of evening are 
coming down upon us ; and will only observe that he has 



14 

been with his church in all times of calamity, in all times 
of persecution, of distress, and trial. Sometimes that 
church has been a little enfeebled band; and, like the wo- 
man in the book of revelation, has been obliged to leave 
her habitation, and flee into the wilderness to escape de- 
struction ; and yet she has been enabled to stand. What 
other collected body of people have stood so long ? where 
are those renowned empires, which arose in grand succes- 
sion, and astonished mankind for ages ? Long since have 
they passed away, and are found to exist only in the page 
of history. Mighty Babylon, Persia, and Rome, that dis- 
turbed the minds of men for centuries, and stood the won- 
ders of the world — where are they ? Swept from the face of 
the earth, and buried in everlasting silence : while that little 
band has continued to exist, to swell, to increase like the 
stone cut out of the mountain without hands, and is ready 
to embrace all nations, kindreds, tongues, and diversified 
people upon the face of the earth. Yes, blessed be God, 
he has been with his church in seasons of iron persecution, 
when the blood of his martyred saints has run down the 
streets like streams of water ; he has been with his people 
when schisms have rent the church, and false friends have 
risen up among them, who professed to be of the sacred 
community, but "had come in privily, to spy out the liberty 
that they had in Christ Jesus, that they might bring them 
into bondage ?" Why, some say, Wesleyan Methodism is 
agitated to such an extent, that, in a very little time, it 
will be scattered abroad, and will have no connexion at all. 
But, if it be the cause of Christ, this can never come to 
pass. I have no more fear of its being stopped, or retarded 
in its progress, than I can doubt of its existence this mo- 
ment. There may be a variety of causes, and these adverse 
too, that may put us to the test, and serve to purify the doc- 
trine of the church, and refine us from our worldliness, 
and lead us to examine our first principles ; and not only 
to examine the system of doctrine we have published from 



15 

the commencement, but also to investigate that apostolic 
discipline, or what we conceive to be such, which so con- 
spicuously distinguished our predecessors. But what is all 
this, my brethren ? The great Head of the church declares 
" I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world 5 '. 
Why, the church may be sifted, and it will be sifted ; and 
we are assured, that, as the time approximates, when we 
shall come under a higher dispensation, ( I say we, though 
I may not be alive to see it), when christians will come, 
and when there will be greater success, and Messiah shall 
take to himself the mighty power and reign : — I say, that 
as we approximate that happy time, when war shall cease; 
when the instruments of human cruelty shall be converted 
into instruments of husbandry; when the lion and the 
lamb shall lie down together, and neither hurt nor destroy 
in all God^s holy mountain : — I say, in proportion as we 
approximate that happy period of the church, all christian 
communities will be sifted, and tried, and persecuted, and 
slandered, and defamed : but he, who is the Head of the 
church, will be with all his true people of whatever name, 
of whatever denomination. 

Finally, my brethren, the application of the promise is 
to all individual believers ; not only to the church collec- 
tively, but to every believer whatsoever. In trials, in suf- 
ferings, in privations, and in reproaches, he will be with 
you. He will be with you when you are forgotten; when 
even the members of your own household have little or no 
sympathy for you; when no human eye beholds you ; 
when, with broken heart, in secret you exclaim, u Wretched 
man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of 
this death ?" He will be with you, and will not turn a 
deaf ear to your cry : your sighs and your groans shall 
have an eloquence which the God of heaven cannot re- 
sist ; and he will bow his heavens and come down, and 
enable you to face and overcome every difficulty and dan- 
ger. He will be with you in the performance of your duty, 



16 

however arduous or painful that duty may be. You say 
sometimes, how can I among these thoughtless girls, and 
proud rebellious lads, or with this unbelieving companion 
of my life, how can I perform my christian duties ? But 
the head of the church declares "I am with you :" then he 
renders easy what would otherwise be impracticable. He 
will be with you in the performance of all your duties, 
those religious duties which you owe either to yourselves 
or to your fellow creatures. "I will be with you alway, 
even unto the end of the world;" and, if he be with you, 
you will have strength given you according to your day. 

And, finally, he will be with you, in the hour and ar- 
ticle of death. This is a very trying moment. My bosom 
friend, my dearest child, the wife of my affection, cannot 
soothe the sorrows of my heart in that awful moment, 
when eternity is ready to break in on my astonished 
vision ; but even then the promise is, "I am with you, I 
will not leave thee nor forsake thee." Why, it is this 
which has cheered many a dying saint, and afforded sup- 
port to many a poor timid female : one who has been all 
fear, and who has often thought, What shall I do when I 
come to die, when heart and flesh fail me; when death, 
in its terrific forms, is approaching; when the world of 
spirits is ready to break in upon me, What shall I do ! 
Why, you need not be alarmed ; the promise is still, I am 
with you alway, even unto the end, to the end of your in- 
dividual existence on earth; and in that end he can and 
will support you. 

In conclusion, I must observe that the promise in the text 
is sufficient to encourage us all. Whether we meet again 
or not upon earth is of no real consequence, if you do but 
bear in mind the promise in the text. If Christ be with 
you; if he be with his ministers who shall ascend this 
desk; if he be with you when you assemble in this place, 
or in other places set apart for the worship of God, if he 
be with you when seperated from your friends and dis- 



n 



eonsolate, why you will have all that will be needful to 
support you; and know that all things will work together 
for good to them that love God., to them who are the 
called according to his purpose. 

I leave the text with you, and then I am assured, 
whether I may meet with you or not, that if the head of 
the church be with you, all will be well. Now he is with 
you, but, by and by, he takes you home to himself, that 
where he is, there ye may be also, that ye may behold his 
glory, and be a participator in his happiness, which is 
lasting as eternity, and infinite as your desires. Perhaps 
there are some of you to whom this may not apply, who 
have heard the gospel for years in succession, who have 
no idea of the mind being comforted by realizing the pre- 
sence of the Saviour, who have no conception of the con- 
solation afforded to the humble mind by the fulfilment of 
this promise : but I ask you, what will be your feelings in 
the last hour, if you have not the Saviour with you? Why 
you will take an awful leap in the dark ; and if he be not 
there to meet you when you pass through the valley of the 
shadow of death, you must drop into endless miseries. 

May God, in his infinite mercy, manifest himself to 
you as a God of infinite purity, that you may become ac- 
quainted with your vileness; as a God of inflexible justice, 
that you may be tremblingly alive to your awful condition ; 
as a God of infinite mercy, that you may be enabled to 
pray for pardon: then shall you be a partaker of his king- 
dom, then shall the promise be to you, " Lo ! I am with 
you alway, even unto the end of the world." Amen and 
Amen. 

May God be with you, and with me his unworthy ser- 
vant; be with us all, individually and collectively, even 
unto death, for his name's sake. 



A SERMON, 

DELIVERED BY THE REV. T. ROGERSON. 

In tfje iffletfio&t'fit (fftmpd, Uuton. 

August, 1835. - 

Luke, xiii. 6 — 9, — "A certain man had a Jig tree planted in 
his vineyard, and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found 
none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, ' Behold 
these three years I come seeking fruit on this Jig-tree, and find 
none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?' And he 
answering, said unto him, 'Lord, let it alone this year also, till 
I shall dig about it, and dung it ; and if it bear fruit, well : 
and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down" 

Perhaps there may be individuals, in the present con 
gregation, who may be ready to suppose that the subject 
which we have selected for this evening's meditation, is 
unsuitable. It may be thought so, on the first glance. 
But although^ my brethren, we are not closing the regular 
period of the year, and entering upon a new year; yet we 
are closing the regular methodistical year, and we are en- 
tering upon a new methodistical year. Your ministers, 
who have laboured among you in the word and in doctrine, 
are about to take their departure; and while you have been 
favoured with christian privileges and with christian ordi- 
nances, during their ministry for three years, or for a 
shorter period, you must remember that you will be called 
to give an account of these priveleges ; and it is well for 
us to review the past, and it is likewise well for us to be 
put on our guard as respects the future. 

One of the most unpleasant parts of every minister's 
duty is to expose the transgressions of his hearers, and to 
denounce the judgements of God against all unrighteous- 
ness and ungodliness of men ; for notwithstanding mos£ 



20 

persons love wickedness, and therefore practise it, yet they 
wish to stand fair in their neighbour's estimation, and in 
their own; and to be amused with hopes, or at all events 
not to be alarmed with fears, concerning the future. 

But, however painful this duty may be, it is highly ne- 
cessary that it should be properly discharged. It is neces- 
sary on the part of the minster himself. His commission 
is, whether men will hear, or whether they will forbear, to 
declare the whole counsel of God. He is to be pure from 
the blood of all. 

And it is no less necessary, too, on the part of the peo- 
ple : it is necessary that they should be convinced of what 
is wrong, that they may reform; and it is necessary that 
they should reform, that they may not perish. Thus, my 
brethren, the prophets of old shewed unto the people their 
transgressions and sins : in like manner the apostles of our 
Lord warned every man ; and the Lord Jesus himself, the 
blessed and the true witness, while he gave sufficient en- 
couragement to penitent sinners, yet strongly insisted on 
the necessity of sinners becoming humble and penitent, 
that they might escape those punishments which their sins 
had merited. Here we find him calling the Jews to re- 
pentance. There were some that told him of the Galileans, 
whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And 
Jesus answering, said unto them, e Suppose ye that these 
Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because 
they suffered such things ? I tell you, Nay : but, except ye 
repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen upon 
whom the tower of Siloam fell, and slew them ; think ye 
that they were sinners above all men in Jerusalem ? I tell 
you, Nay ; but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise pe- 
rish/' These Jews, they repented not ; they would not 
receive the Lord Jesus as the Messiah ; consequently, evils 
and miseries fell upon them indescribable. Their city and 
their nation were destroyed by the hands of the Romans : 
but, however severe these sufferings were, Jesus was not 



•21 



to blame ; for he not only forewarned them, explicitly, of 
the nature and extent of these sufferings; but, in order to 
impress the subject more deeply on their minds, he spake 
also this parable : "A certain man had a fig-tree planted 
in his vineyard, and he came and sought fruit thereon, and 
found none: then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, 
6 Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig- 
tree, and find none; cut it down: why cumbereth it the 
ground ? ' And he, answering, said unto him, ' Lord, let it 
alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: 
and if it bear fruit, well; and if not, then, after that, thou 
shalt cut it down." That we may profit from the words 
before us, we shall, by the help of God, direct our attention 
First, To the plantation of the fig-tree : — 
Secondly, to the complaint of the proprietor: — 
Thirdly, to the sentence of destruction : — 
Lastly, to the intercession of the vine dresser to sus- 
pend the stroke. 

In the first place, then, my brethren, we shall direct 
your attention to the plantation of the fig-tree. "A certain 
man had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard." This certain 
man denotes the Almighty — denotes God. To him every 
thing belongs: "The earth is his, and the fulness thereof; 
the wide world, and they that dwell therein." Particularly 
the church is his, as it is called by his name, and is design- 
ed to shew forth his praise. In the scriptures it is fre- 
quently held forth unto us by the emblem of a vineyard, 
while the world is represented by a wildernes. The church 
in its outward state, is a visible and mixed community, so 
that amongst God's people, frequently are found wicked 
men ; men who "have a name to live, and are dead ;" men 
who wear the form of godliness, but deny its power. 

This observation will enable us to answer a question of 
great importance : who is meant by the fig-tree planted in 
this vineyard ? It cannot be a real christian, because all 
who are truly regenerate are fruitful. The good ground, 



22 



you must observe, brought forth, in one place, thirty ,"m 
another sixty ; and, in another, a hundred fold : and, al- 
thbu|fi it yielded in different proportions, yet every part 
of it Was productive. The character here intended, seems 
to be an individual placed in the outward and visible church, 
and blessed with all the advantages and immunities of such 
a situation. It was once the highly favored Jew, to whom 
pertained the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants* 
and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the 
promises — whose were the fathers ; and of whom, as con- 
cerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed 
for ever. It is now the highly favored christian, blessed 
with all the advantages of Judaism, multiplied, improved* 
and perfected. It is now the highly favored Briton ; born 
not only in a land of science and of freedom, but in a land 
where the true light shineth, in a land of gospel grace. It 
is thou who art favoured with pious friends, with pious 
parents, who expostulate, and warn, and admonish. It is 
thou who hast a name and a place in God's sanctuary, 
sabbath after sabbath, where thine eyes see thy teachers, 
and where thine ears hear a voice behind thee, saying, 
"This is the way, walk thou in it. Blessed are your eyes, 
for they see; and your ears, for they hear. For verily I 
say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men have 
desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen 
them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have 
not heard them." But few, my brethren, are aware of the 
responsibility which attaches itself to such privileges^ 
For observe, although this fig-tree was planted in a vine- 
yard ; not in a desert, where it might perish for want of 
moisture ; not in a wilderness, where it might be destroyed 
and injured by prowling beasts ; not on a rock, where it 
might wither and die for want of nutriment and support ; 
but in a vineyard, a rich soil, where it had all the advantages 
which culture and situation could afford, yet it still produced 
no fruit. 



28 

But, secondly, let us notice the complaint of the pro- 
prietor. "A certain man had a fig-tree planted in his vine- 
yard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found 
none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, 
'Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this 
fig-tree, and find none." Every thing here is worthy our 
consideration, every thing here is important. Here we see 
his observation and his disappointment. He came seeking 
fruit. — Indeed, my brethren, God inspects all his creatures, 
to see what is in them. His eyes are upon the ways of 
man, and he pondereth all his goings. There is no dark- 
ness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity 
may hide themselves. God comes unto us to inspect us, 
to see what we are doing with our trials, with our afflictions, 
with our advantages; to observe the formation of our prin- 
ciples, and the cultivation of our minds. And remember, 
he is not, cannot be mistaken. We may err in judging of 
our fellow creatures. We judge according to appearances, 
and depend upon the testimony of others; but he needeth 
not that any should testify of man, for he knoweth what 
is in man. Distance of time and situation add to our em- 
barrassment in the decision of disputed principles ; but 
all this is inapplicable to the being whose presence filleth 
heaven and earth ; and with whom one day is as a thou- 
sand years, and a thousand years as one day. And Oh ! 
my brethren, what does he think of some of us ? 

Here mark his disappointment: "1 came seeking fruit 
and found none." This shews that God not only observes 
those who are favoured with religious privileges, but that 
he expects fruit answerable to those privileges. Yes, my 
brethren, he knows the goodness of the soil in which you 
are fixed, and the degrees of culture you have received. 
He forgets none of your privilegs or his pains. In his 
book he has recorded when the gospel came unto you; and 
he knows how many sermons you have heard: and re- 
member that these were given to you, not only as mercies 



24 



which you were required to acknowledge, but as means 
which you are required to improve. They were given for 
this very purpose, and by this very purpose you will be 
judged. But, although his expectations are so reasonable, 
how often have they been frustrated. Behold, says he, 
I come seeking fruit : if it were oaths, if it were lies, if it 
were slanders, he would find enow; if it were leaves, the 
leaves of profession and appearance, he would find many : 
if it were blossoms of conviction, the blossoms of resolution, 
the blossom of attendance on the ordinances of God, he 
would discern not a few ; but behold, says he, I come 
seeking fruit. The fruit which God expects is repentance, 
faith, and obedience. But have we repented over our sins ? 
Have we mourned before God on their account? Have we 
felt true contrition of spirit ? Have we fled for refuge to 
the only hope set before us in the gospel ? And have we 
relied on the great atoning sacrifice as the ground of our 
acceptance with God? Do we bring forth fruits of righ- 
teousness, which, by Jesus Christ, are to the glory and the 
praise of God; and the fruit of the spirit, which is love, 
joy, peace, longsufFering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 
meekness and temperance? Alas ! we have brought forth 
but little fruit unto his glory, and some of us are barren at 
the present period; and the language, which was given to 
Israel of old, is justly applicable to us. "Israel is an 
empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself :" And 
we may justly wonder why God has not consumed us. 
Here we discover the divine pains : "behold," says he, 
"I come these three years." These three years — why did 
he not complain the first year? Why did he not destroy it 
the second year? Why does he still bear with it till the 
end of the third year? Why! To shew us that he is God, 
and not man : that his thoughts are not our thoughts, nor 
his ways our ways; that, as the heavens are higher than 
the earth, so are his ways higher than our ways, and his 
thoughts thajn. our thoughts. Why ! — to teach us that he 



25 



is a God of boundless compassion, that he hath no plea- 
sure in the death of the sinner ; that he would rather that 
all should repent and turn to him and live. And therefore 
he bears with us so long as his perfections will allow ; and, 
even then, seems, to proceed with reluctance in the dis- 
pensations of his providence, and to cry over us, how shall 
I give them up? 

But remember this will not always be the case with the 
impenitent; for observe, in the third place, — The sentence 
of destruction. Then said he unto the dresser of his vine- 
yard, " Behold these three years I come seeking fruit on 
this fig-tree, and find none; cut it down: why cumbereth 
it the ground r" Here, my brethren, we perceive that they 
who derive no advantage from the means of grace, are 
detrimental. Barren trees not only yield no fruit, but 
they take up the room of other trees : they draw off the 
moisture from them. All of them do this; but the injury 
is in proportion to their size and age. Who can tell the 
mischief resulting from a long continued course of sin and 
worldly mindedness? Who can tell the injury which 
many characters do by their profession of religion, whilst 
they deny its power? But this is not all. A mere pro- 
fessor of religion is injurious : he causes the enemies of 
God to blaspheme, to suppose that religion is either hy- 
pocrisy or deceit. He grieves the godly ; he causes the 
hands of ministers to hang down ; he hears, in vain, the 
sermons which might convert others. If, says our Lord, 
the mighty works which have been done in thee, ( when 
speaking of Chorazin and Bethsaida ) had been done in 
Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting 
in sackcloth and ashes. 

Again, in this sentence of destruction, we perceive that 
unprofitableness, under the means of grace, is exceedingly 
provoking to the Most High. And can we wonder at this, 
when we consider what a waste of time, what a disregard 
of the soul and of eternity ? " He that knoweth to do good, 



26 



and doeth it not, to him it is sin : and the servant who 
knoweth his lord's will and prepareth not himself, neither 
doeth according to his will, shall beaten with many stripes : 
while he who knoweth not his master's will, and committeth 
things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with comparatively 
few stripes. Upon this principle it is easy to perceive 
that there is not, there cannot be an individual in the 
world so guilty as the man who enjoys the privileges of 
the gospel, and yet remains unrighteous still. He has no 
cloak, no possible excuse for his sins : their commission 
is without excuse, and their punishment will be without 
any alleviation : the hell of a heathen will be nothing when 
compared to the hell of a christian. 

Lastly, my brethren, from this, sentence of destruction, 
we observe that God has justice as well as mercy, and, 
though he bears long, he will not bear always. Because 
sentence against an evil world is not executed speedily, as 
a natural consequence, the hearts of the sons of men are 
fully set in them to do evil : but how absurd and dangerous 
is such a fatal reason! Is forbearance forgiveness? No. 
nor connivance, either. a These things hast thou done, 
and I kept silence : thou thoughtest that I was altogether 
such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set 
them in order before thine eyes. Now consider this, ye 
that forget God, lest he tear you in pieces, and there be 
none to deliver/* The husbandman at length orders his 
axe to be brought, and laid to the root of the tree, and 
the commission goes forth, — (C Cut it down ; why cumber- 
eth it the ground ?" 

Lastly, we consider the intercession of the vine dresser 
to suspend the stroke. " And he, answering, said unto 
him, c Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about 
it, and dung it ; and, if it bear fruit, well : and if not, then 
after that thou shalt cut it down." Brethren, the effectual 
fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much with God. 
God, in answer to the entreaties of his servants, has fre- 



27 



quently averted his wrath, and turned aside his fierce anger. 
Moses prayed unto the Lord ; and God, in answer to his 
intercession, spared Israel. "And the Lord said unto 
Moses, go, get thee down ; for thy people which thou 
broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted them- 
selves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way 
which I commanded them : they have made them a molten 
calf and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, 
and said these be thy Gods, O Israel ! which have brought 
thee up out of the land of Egypt. And the Lord said 
unto Moses, I have seen this people, and behold, it is a 
stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my 
wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume 
them; and I will make of thee a great nation. And Moses 
besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy 
wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought 
forth out of the land of Egypt, with great power, and with 
a mighty hand ? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak 
and say, c For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them 
in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of 
the earth 5 ? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this 
evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, and Isaac? 
and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine 
own self, and said'st unto them, e I will multiply your seed 
as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken 
of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for 
ever. And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought 
to do unto his people. 5 ' 

"Lord, let it alone this year also." Whose language is 
this ? It is the language of a pious individual in behalf of 
an ungodly relative. It is the language of a pious wife for 
a profligate husband; "Lord, let him alone this year also." 
It is the language of a godly father in behalf of an impious 
and profligate son ; "Lord, let him alone this year also/ 5 
It is the language of a sister for a brother, and a brother 
for a sister; "Lord let them alone this year also.' 5 Hov. 



28 

can I, how shall I bear the destruction of my own kin ) It 
is the language of a minister for his people: such a minister 
not only preaches but he prays. He can say, with one of 
old, I seek not yours, but you. He is desirous of promo- 
ting the best interests of the congregations to whom he ad- 
dresses himself, and so far is he from wishing the evil day 
to approach with all its horrors, that he endeavours to 
ward off the fatal blow, and engages to use additional dili- 
gence in order to bring them to Christ. But, while he 
sees the folly and unbelief of his people, how they are 
bound in sin and wickedness, between the porch and the 
altar, he cries unto his God, "Lord, let them alone this 
year also.'' But above all, it is the language of Christ, the 
great mediator between God and man. My Brethren^ 

"He ever lives above, 
For us to intercede, 
His all redeeming love, 

His precious blood, to plead; 
His blood aton'd for all our race, 
And sprinkles now the throne of grace." 

He himself maketh intercession for the transgressors: he 
pleads before his Father, on our behalf, and cries, while he 
views careless and negligent sinners: "Let them alone 
this year also." 

In the first place, he pleads for the suspension of the 
stroke ; Lord, let them alone this year also. Thou hast 
borne with them long : O bear with them a little longer. 
And why is he so anxious that a sinner should be spared ? 
Because, brethren, in order to our having repentance, it is 
necessary we should have space for repentance. Because, 
while there is life, there is hope. But when the present 
life is over, then it will be, "Let him that is righteous be 
righteous still ; and let him that is filthy be filthy still." 
"When the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut 
to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock 
at the door, saying, Lord! Lord! open unto us: he shall 



29 



answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are/' 
Opportunity is over, importunity is vain. 

He engages to use additional means to produce fertility. 
"Till I shall dig about it, and dung it." The word shall 
be preached with more fervour than before : the minister 
shall be particular in describing his case, and alarming his 
conscience, and arousing his fears. Afflictions and disap- 
pointments shall shew him the vanity of the world; the 
necessity of dependence on God alone for happiness; and 
not on any creature, or upon any creaturely good. Death 
shall enter his family, and smite his connexions by his side. 
The day in which he lives shall be dark and cloudy : he shall 
hear of the "distress of nations with perplexity: the sea 
and the waves roaring: men's hearts failing them for fear* 
and for looking after those things which are coming on the 
earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken." And 
can he retain his ungodliness through such a year as this ? 

Here is the supposition of future produce. "If it bear 
fruit, well: and, if not, then, after that, thou shalt cut it 
down/' "If it bear fruit, well." The word well is not 
found in the original Greek: there we find nothing but an 
awful pause. — "If it bear fruit." Our translators have 
properly supplied the word "well." The vine-dresser had 
undertaken to bestow additional labour and culture on the 
fig-tree ; and he intimated that if his labours succeeded 
they would be the cause of gratification to all the parties 
concerned. 

It would be well. Well for the proprietor of the vine- 
yard : "for herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much 
fruit." It would be well for the vinedresser, as his labours 
would be crowned with success. The Redeemer would 
then see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied. The 
inferior labourers also would greatly rejoice. It would be 
well for the vineyard, as it would be adorned and replen- 
ished where it was encumbered before. It would be well 
for the tree itself, as it would escape the curse of barren- 



30 

ness, and obtain the blessing of fruitfulness. It would be 
well for the tree itself as it would be transplanted in a no- 
bler vineyard above, where it would bud and blossom, and 
bring forth fruit to God^s glory for evermore. "If it bear 
fruit well :" and ah ! my brethren it would be well for the 
drunkards in Luton where they to become sober : it would 
be well for the swearers would they learn to blaspheme 
the awful name of their Sovereign and Maker no longer : 
it would be well for those who neglect their families, were 
they to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of 
of the Lord. "If it bear fruit, well" 

Here is the doom of the finally impenitent. And if not, 
then, after that "thou shalt cut it down." There is some- 
thing in these words tremendous beyond all expression. 
They not only tell us of the certainty of the event, but 
they likewise shew the disposition of the vinedresser con- 
cerning it. He here intimates that he will interpose no 
longer : and we see his mercy, not indeed in delighting, but 
in acquiescing in our destruction. The refuge, open to us 
before in every time of danger, is now closed. While the 
Saviour was our friend, we always had a resource : but the 
Lamb of God has become the Lion of the tribe of Judah- 
"The great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able 
to stand ?" "If not, then, after that, thou shalt cut it down. 3 ' 

Here the parable breaks off. We want to know more ; 
but in vain. Particularly we wish to know whether ano- 
ther year was granted to this importunity; but all is silence; 
is righteous silence; quite in accordance with the language 
of the Scriptures, in which we are no where assured that 
God will give you another year, another month, another 
day. Particularly, we want to know whether, if the boon 
was granted, the tree became fruitful. But not a word con- 
cerning it. - If we judge from circumstances in general it 
remained the same. Brethren, there is a hardening of the 
heart through sin, and there is likewise a hardening of the 
heart through the means we possess of obtaining salvation. 



31 

The latter is the more dangerous of the two. Truths may 
meet the former character, and arrest him in his career to 
misery : but the latter can hear nothing new. God, Christ, 
salvation, the threatenings of the law, the promises of the 
gospel, the glories of heaven, the terrors of hell, have all 
expended their force and influence on him in vain. It is true, 
with God all things are possible. O seize this last, this 
trembling hope, and seek the Lord while he may be found. 
Let our hearts' prayer to night be "Save, Lord, or I perish." 
But this subject, likewise, leads me to address those of 
you who have not only been planted in the vineyard of God, 
but are alive to him through Jesus Christ our Lord. It 
is a mercy that you are not wholly barren, altogether un- 
fruitful. But, brethren, have you not brought forth but 
very little fruit to his giory ? Consider the number and 
value of your privileges. You have had " line upon line, 
and precept upon precept; here a little, and there a little." 
You have had all the helps which your cases could require. 
You have been planted in the vineyard of our God, and 
yet have not many of you been almost barren and unfruit- 
ful ? Call to mind the past, review the years which have 
rolled over your heads, while your present ministers have 
laboured amongst you ; and ask yourselves whether you 
have brought forth fruit corresponding with your profes- 
sion, and the number and value of your opportunities. 
Brethren, may we not take up the language of the poet, 
and say, 

" What have I done for him who died 

To save my wretched soul 1 
How are my follies multiplied, 

Fast as the minutes roll." 

May the time past more than suffice wherein we have 
wrought folly. 

But, brethren, the subject likewise leads me to address 
those of you who have sat under our ministry, from time 
to time, and notwithstanding you have been blessed with 



32 



these privileges, yet your hearts are unrenewed. Brethren, 
we feel for you. What a lamentable consideration, that, 
notwithstanding you are so highly favored, you are still 
u in the gall of bitterness, and in the bonds of iniquity. 5 ' 
The proprietor of the vineyard had come three years to 
inspect the fig-tree; but God has come to some of you 
five, ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, it may be sixty 
years, and has found no fruit. You have heard of the dan- 
ger of unprofitableness. You have heard that the axe is 
now laid at the root of the tree ; and " Every tree which 
bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down, and cast into 
the fire." While we have laboured amongst you, many 
have been called to exchange this world for another. Many 
who were connected with you, perhaps less guilty than 
yourself, have fallen into eternity. But you are spared. 
Ah ! perhaps this is the very year for which the vine dres- 
ser has been pleading. Perhaps the Saviour has said, 
" Grant this, for I cannot ask another year, another month, 
another day." One thing is certain: — "There is no w T ork, 
nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whi- 
ther thou art going." Therefore our cry should be with 
this of Moses, — "So teach us to number our days that we 
may apply our hearts unto wisdom." And what is wisdom ? 
Wisdom is a relative thing : and this is so true that what 
is wise in one man to do, would be folly in another. The 
question, then, is this, — Whatisthe wise part for you to act, 
considering the circumstances in which you are placed? 

Now what does prudence and common sense dictate in 
other cases? If men have an important journey to under- 
take, wisdom consists in preparing for that journey: if a 
man be in danger from an overhanging precipice, it is wis- 
dom for him to flee : if a man be on the verge of eternity, 
with a disease which threatens his destruction, his wisdom 
is in looking after a physician and a remedy. Now this is 
your case, brethren. You have a most important journey 
to undertake. You are flying fast as a winged arrow through 



38 

the air, into a boundless eternity. The question that pre- 
sents itself is this, — 

"How make mine own election sure, 
And, when I fail on earth secure 
A mansion in the skies?" 

You are diseased with a mortal disease, infected with a 
plague of leprosy which will ruin, unless it be cured, both 
body and soul for ever. But there the physician sits, and 
he cries to-night, he cries to you, "wilt thou be made whole?" 

"Salvation in that name is found, 

Balm of our grief and caie ; 
A medicine for our every wound, 

All, all, we want, is there." 

And he is ready to cure, without money and without price, 
You are hanging over a precipice of destruction, the preci- 
pice of hell, but in Jesus Christ is safety; and you may fly 
for refuge now to lay hold on the only hope which is set 
before you in the gospel. Betake yourselves then to this 
Saviour, and say, "Save me, and I shall be saved.'' 

And may you seek the justification of your person, and 
the sanctification of your natures, with all the importunity 
the necessity of the case requires, and so much more as ye 
see the day approaching; so that whether your life here 
be short or protracted, whether you live you may live unto 
the Lord, or whether you die, yoi* may die unto the Lord ; 
so that, whether living or dying, you may be the Lord's. 
The Lord add his blessing, and to his name be the praise. 



Higgins, Printer, Dunsta h le.